Medieval No More: Mead Enjoys A Renaissance

Often associated with the Middle Ages — Mead — is making a comeback.

Medieval No More: Mead Enjoys A Renaissance : NPR

Jugs of mead at Brothers Drake meadery in Columbus, Ohio.

With a new meadery opening every year across North America, there is a growing interest in mead. I would like to make my mead making activities into a business such as Brothers Drake meadery featured in this article, but I know it will not be easy.

Furthermore if I want to continue on my present career path, it will be quite difficult to balance my time between both activities. So I have been thinking of restricting any mead making business to be very small, e.g. less than 60 cases of mead a year.

In that sense, this would be more of a craft that I might be able to make enough money to pay for the hobby.

Though the rise in interest in mead appears to coincide with the general rise in interest in craft beers. Perhaps if I am able to tap into the craft or artisan beverage market, however local, I might be able to perpetuate my mead making endeavour!

Mead update

So far I have mostly been talking about the making of my first couple of batches  of mead, which I started in February 2009.  I have mentioned in passing at the end of most of my entries what I thought of the meads after several weeks or a few months, but as I mentioned in my last entry mead needs to age a long time, upwards of a year.  For the batches that I still retain a few bottles (only one for  some, but I still have over a dozen from my first batch), they have been bottle aging for 12 – 18 months now.  So I wanted to take a moment at talk about the meads I have made up to this point, and discuss how they taste after a little aging.

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Get thee to a mead’ry

Since I have been receiving a lot of encouraging comments from family and friends about my mead, I have continued to pursue this delicious hobby of mine.  I really appreciate their kind words, but I do have to take them with a grain of salt and aim to improve the quality of the meads I am producing.  So the talk of making this hobby a business making venture appear to me to be somewhat premature, I personally do not think I am anywhere near ready.  Each of my batches of mead are wildly different, and I have yet to master the art of converting what I have envisioned in my mind and my taste buds into a mead.  Mostly this will involve improving my mead making technique, and the other part will be taste experience.

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An idea is born

Despite the mild disappointment with my first attempt at mead made on the cheap, I decided to give it another try.  For my second attempt I decided to duplicate the Alfalfa Orange Cinnamon Mead recipe, but this time paying closer attention to sanitation and preparation.  I also decided to document the preparation steps in a little more detail.

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Mead made on the cheap

After the success — **ahem** — with my first batch of mead, I thought about how I could improve my mead making expertise.  Namely, could I make smaller batches of mead to make things more manageable?  Furthermore, I could I make a batch of mead that didn’t require investing in new equipment?  On The Joy of Mead a post appeared about how to make a cheap one gallon of mead, which was right down my alley so I gave it a try.

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First batch

I began making my first batch of mead after picking up the wine kit, and I was quite excited to get started.  Perhaps I was a somewhat too excited because after making a stop at the grocery store on the way back, I grabbed insufficient honey for the first batch.  The kit I purchased came with a 5 gallon (i.e. ~ 23 L) glass carboy, and according to The Joy of Mead I needed about 12 lbs (i.e. ~ 6 kg) of honey to make 5 gallon of mead.  However, in my excitement I didn’t read that this will make a dry mead.  If I wanted to make a mead with any residual sweetness, I would need at least another 1 kg of honey.  In any event I went ahead with making my first batch of mead, following the instructional videos from The Joy of Mead.

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